Julius Caesar

“Beware the ides of March”

On this date Julius Caesar was born (100 BCE – 44 BCE).  That’s an historical fact.  But history is not all that can be said about Caesar.

Frye in “History and Myth in the Bible”:

The ordinary notion of history and myth is that history really happened; myth is what didn’t happen, at least not in that form.  The historian, we feel, tries to capture the past in the present: if he is writing about Julius Caesar’s assassination, he tries to show us what we might have seen if we had been present at the event.  Truth, in this context, means truth of correspondence: a history, or structure of words, is aligned with a body of actions and is judged true if it is a satisfactory verbal replica of those actions.  But truth of correspondence is not the concern of the literary critic: he deals entirely with verbal forms which are not primarily related to external facts or to propositions, and are never true in that context.  To paraphrase Duke Theseus in Shakespeare, the poet, like the lover and the lawyer, is incapable of telling the truth by correspondence.  So far as truth is involved in poetry, it is contained in the verbal form and provides no external criterion for it.  (CW 13, 17)

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